Gaffney, S.C. (August 10, 2005) – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel has decided to prosecute the United Auto Workers (UAW) union for unlawfully blocking a wage increase, thereby coercing Gaffney-based Freightliner/Daimler-Chrysler workers to support the union during a unionization campaign.
Issuing a formal complaint in response to unfair labor practice charges brought by National Right to Work Foundation attorneys for Freightliner employees, NLRB’s Region 11 Office in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, will seek an order against both Freightliner and the UAW for unfair labor practices at an August 22 trial.
The NLRB issued a consolidated complaint against both the union and Freightliner after the union’s officials failed to sign a settlement agreement that had been proposed by the NLRB.
Freightliner employees David Roach and Mike Ivey originally asked their Foundation attorneys to file charges in 2003 after UAW officials vetoed the long-scheduled and promised pay increase, and effectively required a freeze on pay raises at the Gaffney plant, apparently until such time as the employees agreed to unionization. The UAW union and Freightliner had a so-called “card check” or “neutrality” agreement that required the company to actively assist the UAW in its efforts to obtain signatures from employees on union authorization cards.
In their charge found to be meritorious by the NLRB General Counsel, employees allege that they “have been and are being threatened that they will get no raises unless and until they agree to unionization by the ‘company union’ known as the UAW,” even though the union enjoys little support from rank-and-file workers.
In fact, approximately 70 percent of the plant’s employees had even signed and submitted a petition stating that they reject union affiliation and prefer to negotiate directly with company officials over wages and benefits. The petition stated in part that the undersigned employees “recognize the destructive and self-serving behavior of the UAW, and its documented role in union violence, union corruption, and plant closures caused by featherbedding and other uneconomic union work rules.”
The NLRB’s complaint alleges that the company and union engaged in unlawful and coercive conduct that interfered with employees’ rights to refrain from concerted union activity. NLRB prosecutors allege that not only was the withholding of a pay increase unlawful, but also that the granting of the pay increase at a later time after telling the employees that it had been authorized by the union was similarly unlawful.
“This is just the latest example of UAW and Freightliner officials working hand-in-glove to corral workers into union ranks whether they like it or not,” stated Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Freightliner and UAW officials have a cozy relationship that has resulted in the trampling of employee rights, not only in Gaffney, but also in High Point, North Carolina.”
In neighboring North Carolina, the UAW union’s organizing techniques continue to grab headlines through a high profile controversy at the Freightliner-owned Thomas Built Buses facility in High Point. A group of workers at that facility recently filed a motion with the NLRB in Washington, DC, to allow them to challenge alleged election misconduct by Freightliner that occurred at the last minute.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.